Autumn Quinoa Salad

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When I was a kid, I spent hours collecting coltsfoot, a common wild plant in Ireland, whose large rubbery leaves sport a thin downy coat. I gathered my leaves in a bucket and, when I had enough, placed my bucket over a 'fire' (really just a pile of sticks) and cooked 'cabbage stew'. Sometimes I added hawthorn leaves for flavour, honeysuckle flowers for colour, or dock leaves for texture, but the velvety coltsfoot was always the centerpoint of my creation. As I stirred my cabbage stew, I felt like a pioneer of old, surviving alone in the great outdoors.

The feeling of those coltsfoot leaves, which I would press against my cheek just for the joy of feeling their soft surface, is still one of my strongest textural memories. It's the first thing I always think of whenever I use sage, whose felten suface always reminds me a little of my old friend coltsfoot -  which brings me neatly to this recipe.

Chocolate Chip Coconut Slices

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There are so many recipes that I try once, and then never again. It's not that there's anything wrong with most of them per se - it's just that once was enough to tick that experience box... been there done, done that, ate the canoli. On the other hand, some recipes are keepers, like these chocolate chip coconut slices. Huzzah! 

A little like a cross between a blondie and a chewy chocolate chip cookie, these dense slices are definitely too good not to make again... and too easy! One bowl, 15 minutes of measuring and stirring (if even), less than a half an hour in the oven and - BAM - done! Let them cool - or don't - and dig in.

Simple Brownies

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Brownies - simple, comforting, ever satisfying - who can fail to love the baker and bearer of brownies? Here's a little secret those brownie bakers have been trying to hush up for years... brownies are incredibly simple to prepare (or at least they can be). The recipe I'm going to share with you here is one of the quickest and easiest I've come across - and also one of the best.  

I should take a moment to thank Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen. Deb's recipe blog is truly inspiring, one of the best the internet has to offer... and it is from her favourite brownies that I have adapted this recipe. I'm extra grateful because these brownies have saved me time aand time again in those 'emergencies' when I've promised baked goods, but failed at shopping/time management.

Apricot and Almond Truffles

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These apricot and almond truffles are soft bursts of fruitiness, bright orange parties for your tongue. Subtly sweet, smooth with a hint of nutty crunch, they are great to have on hand when you need a quick energy boost, or to tame a raging sweet tooth. I like them in combination with their fudgy inspirations, date nut truffles

These truffles are delicious plain, but for something a little more decadent, coat them in white chocolate. I found some awesome vanilla bean speckled white chocolate for mine and couldn't have been happier with the contrast between the soft fruity truffles and their crunchy rich outer shell.

Couscous Salad with Orange and Avocado

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Let's talk about orange and avocado - two foods just begging to be served together, and yet before I accidentally created this salad from the dregs of my larder, I never knew.  Orange's sweet tanginess is the perfect counterpoint for the creaminess of avocado. I've fallen in love with this pairing, and have been spending my spare moments dreaming of new dishes to try it out in.

What about the salad that started it all? Orange and avocado, of course, cucumber for crunch, hearty red kidney beans and fluffy couscous, dressed in a honey orange vinaigrette... This salad is light and fresh - perfect for a simple wholesome lunch, a palette cleansing side dish -- or, if you're a weirdo like me, an unusual breakfast.